If following horse racing has taught me one thing, it's that, as much as a handicapper may be confident about a race's outcome, the competition itself is always up in the air. I learned that lesson anew on Saturday, November 17, while attending the 1 -1/8 mile Discovery Handicap (gr. III).
After analyzing each candidate's pedigrees, past performances, and connections, I picked Our Entourage as the prospective winner of the Discovery. To my chagrin, the Street Cry colt spun his wheels over the Aqueduct oval and finished last in the race.
Race day dawned crisp and cold. Eager to get to the racetrack, I donned my heaviest coat and endured an hour-and-a-half subway ride to Aqueduct. The new Resorts World casino loomed over the old track, as seagulls wheeled and squawked through the sky. Inside, the building appeared rather dilapidated, its faded floors littered with discarded betting tickets and crumpled up handicapping pages. I picked my way amongst the litter outside to the clubhouse, where I craned my neck to see the Discovery contenders trotting up the track.
|Called to Serve galloped home first in the Discovery.|
Although he maintained his stalking position, Our Entourage began to wilt as the race went on. Eventually, to my chagrin, Called to Serve, a son of Afleet Alex, barreled up the stretch, past my fading choice and the fleet Willy Beamin. Called to Serve charged to a 4 3/4-length triumph, with Willy Beamin second and Stephanoatsee third. Our Entourage finished up the track, sixth and last.
"I'm glad I didn't have time to bet," I muttered under my breath. Discouraged, I scuffed my sneaker against the concrete step and made my way back inside to handicap the next race.